Health Tips with Dr. Beth Favro: The Facts about Colic


Saratoga Health Tips with Dr. Beth Favro
from Turning Point Chiropractic

What defines colic?

Saratoga Health | The Truth about Colic

The term has often been used to describe babies that cry for a long period of time.  More specifically, experts state colic starts in the first few weeks of life, lasting many hours a day, occurring until around 3 months of age.  Dr. Morris Wessel coined the “Rule of 3’s” when diagnosing infants with colic.  The “rule” is any infant who cries for more than 3 hours a day, 3 days a week, for over 3 weeks. Although it wasn’t scientifically based, many physicians used the “Rule of 3’s” to label infants as colic. Eventually, the rules became known as the Wessel Criteria and is commonly used in current studies of infants with colic.

What do we know about colic?

We know, based on the Wessel Criteria, roughly 25% of babies are defined as colic. One must keep in mind, a colic baby does not directly mean an unhealthy baby. Sometimes the symptoms may give us clues about an underlying cause, so try not to stress about the baby’s development. Interestingly enough, statistics reveal babies born colic have demonstrated higher IQ’s (I hope that provides some relief)! We also know crying spells are typically worse in the evening and recurring gas is often a symptom. One final piece worth noting, colic babies prefer to be held and bounced more than ones who are not colic. This can sometimes be exhausting to the parents because of their added commitment.

What causes colic?

Saratoga Health | The Truth about Colic

Much debate has resulted about a potential cause for colic. The American Pregnancy Association states some reasons revolve around digestion including: breastfed babies being sensitive to foods in the mother’s diet (i.e. dairy), bottle-fed babies intolerant of formulas, overfeeding and poor positioning of the baby after feeding, and feeding too quickly. Other causes attribute low birth-weight infants, and immature nervous systems to colic.  However, sometimes changes will be made to the mother’s diet and expensive formulas will be purchased with no results found. What about the poor infants with low-birth weights and immature nervous systems? Are they destined for colic? I think there’s still hope…

My education in chiropractic pediatrics has given me the opportunity to look for other causes of colic.  Even though I always consider nutrition’s role in colic, I also look for structural players which may be responsible.  The reason for these “structural stressors” is mostly because of birth.

While birth is a beautiful and amazing event, it is also very traumatic for mom and baby. Despite the type of birth, natural, c-section, forceps, vacuum, or induced, it is still traumatic to the baby.

Colic babies have exhibited typical patterns of stress and trauma. As a result, many chiropractors have reported case studies and research articles to demonstrate their positive response to care.

Saratoga Health | The Truth about Colic

One theory involves the diaphragm and the surrounding area of the spine. The diaphragm and muscles are in a ‘spasmed’ state. Some suggest this is a cause for their constant crying because it provides a release. The spasm might also be the reason why they prefer to be bounced and held versus laid flat, as laying down may exacerbate symptoms.

Can you relieve symptoms?

The area of the spine at the level of the diaphragm is also found to be restricted so by using gentle manipulation, we can aid in the stress release. There are also many other ways to stress this level of the spine.  Mostly, it involves carriers and diaper changing. Car seats and many bouncers can put direct stress over the tender area, so it becomes hard for the babies to sleep. Now I am NOT advocating to ditch the car seat, but when you aren’t in the car, opt for a baby carrier such as Ergo baby or the Moby wrap.

Saratoga Health | The Truth about Colic | Baby Carrier

Local Saratoga area consignment stores such as Cuddle Bugs in Saratoga Springs or Pixie’s Closet in Ballston Spa often have wraps, slings and other baby carriers for sale.  Also, there’s a local organization called Sling Babies of the Capital Region that meets monthly at the Saratoga Springs Public Library and will loan out baby carriers.

If you are interested in knowing more, please feel free to email me or post a comment below.

The attached video shows a different way to approach diaper changing so the area of the spine is not stressed.  Hope you find this post helpful!

 Video: Diaper Changing for Colic Babies

 Turning Point Chiropractic | Saratoga NYDr. Beth Favro | Turning Point ChiropracticDr. Beth Favro along with her husband Dr. Adam are a husband and wife Chiropractic team and own Turning Point Chiropractic located in Saratoga Springs.  Dr. Beth specializes in pediatric and pre/post-natal care.  Dr. Beth and Dr. Adam are able to provide residents and guests of Saratoga NY the most comprehensive and up to date health care.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this blog should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this blog. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well being.The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the authors, but readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. This blog is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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  1. I find this info very interesting… son was colic and I never thought chiropractic could help him! Wish I knew this then! Thnx for posting this!! Looking forward to more 😉

    • Thanks Jen! Glad you found the post interesting. I myself am just learning all the amazing health benefits of chiropractic care, thanks to Dr. Beth. Thanks for your comment!

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